Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Exit Glacier, Seward, Alaska

Not far from Seward, Exit Glacier is part of the huge Harding Icefield.   A remnant of the Great Ice Age, each year between 150 and 200 inches of snow fall on the icefield.  Harding icefield covers a huge part of the Kenai Peninsula, and is 50 miles long and 30 miles wide, something that wasn’t discovered until the early 1990’s.   It’s hard to visualise that much snow and ice.
As yet no-one knows just how deep the icefield is, but as some of Exit Glacier’s crevasses can be more than 100 feet deep……  

At one time it was possible to walk right up to the glacier and stand under a glacial overhang, unfortunately people can and have been swept underneath never to be seen again.   Imagine disappearing underneath all that, it doesn’t bear thinking about!

These days the trail ends at an overlook to try and stop this happening. 

The view from the end of the overlook trail.

A distant view of the glacier is pretty amazing.

A round trip hike on the much more strenuous 3.9 mile Harding Icefield Trail takes you right to the edge of the glacier, climbing about 3,000 ft right to the edge of the glacier it’s about a 6 – 8 hour round trip.   Maybe, possibly, one day! 

We walked down onto the outwash plain, the views were pretty impressive, needless to say when I dipped my hand into the water it was ice-cold.

There were several inukshuks, I had a go a building one,

DB was distinctly underwhelmed by my effort, I thought it wasn’t actually bad for a first attempt. 

Looking back towards Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield.

As we walked along the trails we kept seeing brown signs showing dates, 1815, 1914, 1951, etc. etc., and wondered what they meant.  An informational board told us that Exit Glacier has been retreating since the Little Ice Age.   The signs showed how far into the valley the glacier extended in 1815 and how far it had retreated by 2007.    

As you can see from the photographs, it was very overcast and quite cold the morning we visited, even so we had a great visit.  We got the timing right as well because later that day it absolutely poured with rain.
Have fun, we are!


  1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. Exit Glacier and so much more was on our 2010 visit to Alaska. We love all that Alaska has to offer and someday hope to make it up there in our motorhome to spend more than just the two-three weeks we've been able to do so on previous trips.

    1. We agree, one trip to Alaska is not enough, like you we can't wait to go back. Have fun!